By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK – The snow may have moved the speeches inside, but it didn’t stop residents from ringing the bell in honor of loved ones at the Historical Museum’s annual Veterans Day Observance.
The gathering, held Nov. 11, drew residents and local officials, including Mayor Thomas Karnes, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-12th District), Wayne County Commissioner Ilona Varga (D-Lincoln Park) and state Rep. Cara Clemente (D-14th District).
Museum Curator Jeff Day said those assembled want to honor and remember veterans that are no longer with us.
“We are losing them every day from the World War II era and now Korea,” Day said. “There have been many conflicts over the last 70 plus years, and so this community reflects a lot of the veterans who served in all of those armed services during that time period.”
Karnes said he was happy to see so many people turn out for the event despite the snow storm.
“I think this crowd is almost to the point where it was when the weather was better,” Karnes said.
Karnes said that what the local veterans listed in the historical museum records and the 130 names listed on the city memorial have in common is they all left their homes to fight for the nation, and those listed on the memorial did not return.
“These are not people that were different from any of us,” Karnes said. “They had wives, girlfriends, paper routes, they worked in town, they did things, the only difference is they felt the call to come to the aid of their country and they paid the ultimate sacrifice. They were willing to go to battle for us, and for that we owe them everything.”
Clemente said the people who volunteer or who are drafted to serve the country are deserving of admiration.
“This is something that took them away from their families, friends and their communities,” she said. “Some of them came back and some of them didn’t, and remembering that is important, and needs to continue, through my children, and my children’s children, because we are here, and safe and secure because of the people that served our country.”
Dingell said this was her first Veterans Day since her late husband, John D. Dingell Jr., died.
“He had a lot of titles – spouse, father, congressman, fisherman, outdoorsman – but there was no title that meant more to him than being a veteran,” Dingell said. “He spent his whole career working for the veterans.”
She said Americans need to salute the men and women who serve their country.
“We are getting fewer and fewer World War II veterans, we thank those who were in Korea, and the Vietnam generation,” she said. “This country needs to never forget Vietnam and the disgraceful way we treated the Vietnam vets when they came home. We can never do that again.”
Dingell said those who served in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world “kept us safe and protected our freedom.”
“What worries me right now, more than anything, is how Russia is trying to divide us,” she said. “Intelligence agencies around the world are saying that they are trying to destabilize democracy.
“We all live in the greatest country in the world. Our democracy, our liberties, we are lucky to have, we must cherish, and we must always fight to defend our country.”
Dingell said citizens need to remember they are Americans.
“That is what we are first and foremost, we must love our country, and that flag represents all that is good,” she said.
Dingell presented a plaque to the museum with shell casings from the 21-gun salute fired May 19, 2019, when Lincoln Park renamed its Memorial Day Parade in honor of and in memory of John D. Dingell Jr.